BRIOCHE AUX PRUNEAUX
(brioche with prune filling)
Makes one large braided loaf
The lovely yellow-white braids of Brioche aux Pruneaux are wrapped around lengths of soft prune puree. The result is not only delicious but it is dramatic when cut – the black prune core contrasting with the brioche.
Brioche aux Pruneaux is a different coffee cake-style bread. It goes well with coffee, tea, or a glass of wine.
I found the brioche
(and its recipe) on a bicycle trip through
chateau near Bracieux.
36 medium prunes, preferably pitted
1 1/2 pounds Brioche Dough, chilled (see below)
1 large egg, beaten, mixed with 1 Tablespoon milk
1 baking sheet (to fit the oven), greased or Teflon
Overnight The day before baking place the prunes in a medium
bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave to
When cooled, seed the prunes if they are not pitted.
Put the prunes through the medium blade of a grinder,
food mill, or blender. Reserve the puree.
Rest Remove the dough from the refrigerator 20 minutes before
20 mins. the braids are to be shaped to allow it to soften
Shaping Roll the douogh and stretch it with your fingers into a
30 mins. rectangel 20” to 28” long and about 10” wide. The dough
should be about 1/4” thick. Allow the dough to relax for
5 minutes before further shaping or the dough will pull
back when cut.
The prune filling will be wrapped in the dough before the
dough is cut from the larger piece; place a line of prune
filling (about 3 Tablespoons) across the width of the
dough, leaving a 1” margin at the bottom and 1/2” on
either side. Carefully lift the bottom edge over the
filling and press into the dough on the other side. Roll
the dough so there will be a 1" overlap. Cut off the
rolled piece with a knife or pastry cutter. Pinch the
seam and ends tightly.
Roll the length of dough gently back and forth to shape
a strand. Leave with the seam down while proceeding with
the other 2 braids.
When the 3 strands are completed, lay parallel, with
seams down. Braid from the center. Turn the braids
around and finish from the middle. Don’t tighten the
braids as you work them. They need freedom when they
rise. Pinch the ends of the braids together. Place on
the baking sheet.
RISING Cover with wax paper and leave at room temperature for 30
30 mins. minutes.
(If the dough has been made with a new fast-rising years,
20 minutes will be long enough.)
PREHEAT Preheat the oven to 400° F 20 minutes before baking.
BAKING Brush the loaf with the egg-milk glaze.
25 mins. Place the brioche in the oven for about 25 minutes.
Watch carefully during the last 10 minutes of baking
– if the loaf browns too rapidly, cover with foil or
brown sack paper. The braid is fragile when hot, so
don’t turn it over to check for doneness. If the braids
are a deep brown and strands feel solid under you finger,
the loaf is done.
(If using a convection oven, reduce heat by 50°.)
FINAL STEP Allow the braid to cool on the baking sheet for 15
minutes before transferring to a metal rack. Handle
with care while warm, as it is fragile.
Makes 3 pounds.
This recipe is for the traditional French broiche, with one exception – it does not begin with a separate starter. Some may find mixing all of the ingredients together at one time more attractive than two stages. Plus this method does offer the opportunity to make it the old-fashioned way – by hand, crashing it down into the bowl.
5 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup hot water (120°-130° F)
1 cup butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
5 large eggs, room temperature
BY HAND Into a large mixing or mixer bowl pour 2 cups flour,
OR MIXER the dry ingredients, and hot water. Beat in the mixer
15 mins. For 2 minutes at medium speed, or for an equal length
of time with a large wooden spoon or spatula. Add the
butter and continue beating for 1 minute.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and the remaining flour,
1/2 cup at a time, beating thoroughly with each
The dough will be soft and sticky, and it must be
beaten until it is shiny, elastic, and pulls from your
KNEADING If by hand, grab the dough in one hand, steadying the
10-20 mins. bowl with the other, and pull a large handful of it out
of the bowl, about 14” aloft, and throw it back – with
considerable force. Continue pulling and slapping back
the dough for about 18 to 20 minutes. Don’t dispair.
It is sticky. It is a mess. But it will slowly begin
stretch and pull away as you work it.
A heavy-duty mixer, at medium speed, can do this in
about 10 minutes. The flat beater is better than a
dough hook for this kneading.
RISING Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm
place (80° to 85° F) until the dough has doubled in
volume, about 2 to 3 hours.
(If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast and at the
recommended higher temperature, reduce the rising time
by approximately half.)
4 hours or Stir down the dough (and add other ingredients, such as
overnight cheese, nuts or fruit, if wanted). Place the covered
bowl in the refrigerator. The rich dough must be
thoroughly chilled before it can be shaped, 4 hours or
Source: Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, 1987.